File Conversion Tools

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Depending on what types of file formats you are planning to convert, file conversion tools can range from small application plug-ins to online document processing services to separate file conversion applications. No one method is better than another--each is just suited to a particular situation. If you're going to require file conversion tools for your business, you can make the most effective choice by examining your own file conversion needs.

Many applications come ready to process some types of file conversions. For example, Microsoft Word can convert a document into HTML format, plain text, or rich text. However, more complicated conversions may be beyond the application's capabilities. Before you immediately start to choose a separate file conversion application, find out if there are any plug-ins available to conduct the type of conversions you require.

Freeware File Conversion Tools

Plug-ins are small, usually free, programs that can be downloaded and installed in an application in order to increase its abilities. Shareware and freeware sites often offer a searchable database of plug-ins for various popular applications. In addition, oftentimes, only a limited number of features are included when an application, such as a word processing program, is initially installed. Additional features and plug-ins might be available on the original installation disc. A better solution may be to consider file conversion applications.

File converter software can provide fast, easy file conversion, independent of the limitations of a particular program. Some programs allow the user to print documents directly to a file instead of a printer. Documents processed through such a program can be printed directly to PDF files. Although this is a convenient, simple method for creating PDF files, it also has some limitations. For example, only text-based documents, such as TXT, DOC, and HTML files can be converted to PDF with Adobe's Distiller. In addition, Distiller can only handle one-way traffic, and can't convert PDF files back into another format. More detailed applications can be used to convert any file opened in any application to PDF, as well as to convert PDF files back to any other file type. Good programs will also support conversion between various other document and image types.

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